I've been thinking about my status in the infertility community lately. I'll be honest, I don't even really know where I stand these days. I guess I'm "parenting after infertility and loss," but that doesn't seem to fit. I don't feel finished. Once we start trying again, what that will make me? Am I just "infertile," where I was once suffering "primary infertility?" According to the definition of secondary infertility, I'll never be that: it requires that your first child was conceived naturally. Definitely not me then. What about my loss issues? Regardless of my PCOS, my loss issues still lump me in the infertility category. Even if I manage to conceive on a natural cycle, it's going to require medical intervention to help me carry to term (if I'm even able to do that again)... so again, I am infertile. There's a lot out there on how it feels to suffer from primary infertility, and secondary infertility, parenting afterward, and even about the decision to live child free. I don't see a lot about the in between. It feels a bit like no man's land.
I spent four years with one major focus: to become a mother. Since I've had V, my thoughts have mostly been centered on parenting and healing. Parenting V "should" be the light at the end of the tunnel, and while it's very rewarding, it's not the end of my journey. At least, I hope so, because I had hoped to parent more children. Infertility might not be a major focus in my life, but it's laid it's roots deep, and it isn't going anywhere.
Now I know, infertility doesn't define me. It doesn't consume every aspect of my life, it doesn't force my hand in every decision, it doesn't determine who I am. But in a lot of ways, it does. How I react to entertainment (whether it's books, television, movies) is influenced by my experiences with infertility and loss. Maybe I would have been upset when the main character finds out she can't have kids, maybe the opening scene to "Up" would have always moved me; but because of my experience, being moved, well, it turns into ugly crying at times. Emotionally I have become both very jaded, and very fragile; it's a weird combination. How we make life decisions is heavily influenced by infertility and my miscarriage factors. We spent a lot of money to have V. That financial setback will take years to recover from. Our finances influence so many aspect of our lives, from career to transport, to the hows and whens of future family building. Even if we managed to get pregnant for "free," we would still be faced with all the expenses and unknowns that come with my miscarriage issues. How we have chosen to parent is influenced by how we grew up, and in some ways by what we went through to become parent in the first place. Maybe it isn't a large part, but there's no way going through what we did wouldn't affect our parenting at all.
So, it's true that infertility doesn't define me; but it did help create me.
As we get closer to the new year, we're left waffling back and forth about what we want to do next. We want to, and plan to, try again in the next year. When exactly is less certain. Do we try in January, do we wait until we've replaced our car, after we file taxes, do we wait until I reach my goal weight, do we wait until after the local shelter's 5K, do we keep putting it off and putting it off until next year... saying, "Maybe next month," but never committing? We want to wait and talk to my RE first, but when do we do that? I'm left hemming and hawing, wanting to move forward and take a risk, but also wanting to stay in this moment where everything feels safe.
It's funny how infertility shouldn't be a big part of my life right now, since I'm "parenting after infertility and loss," but it sure seems to be molding my life regardless.